King Albert Park. Can't believe this place is closing its doors. Back in the day, I used to work at the video store upstairs, age 17 to be exact. No its not Video EZ, if anyone is as old as I am now that little nook of a store used to be called called Hollywood Video. A dank and dark place reminisce of an adult film store that you would probably find littered in the Heart of Perth city. To take another stab at my youth again, they were VHS rentals. Yes, those ridiculous black bricks containing rolls of tape that no matter how much you try taking care of them, always gets moldy.
Despite the little stores awkward location it always maintained its regular stream of customers, mainly consisting of expatriates and their giggly kids from nearby private schools. God knows how many numbers I've scored with the ladies recommending the Omen 3 for their slumber parties. Its works every time without fail. To prove that theory right I actually tried it again a couple of years later in Gramophone, the other record store I used to work in. 100 percent hit rate. The best part is, I haven't even watched the movie before.
Another highlight of King Albert back then was the introduction of Its indoor playground which used to take up most of the second floor when It first opened its doors to the public, not to mention the embarrassing Mcparties held in the room next door.
Hamburglar and Grimace, who come up with these guys? Judging from his get up Hambuglar is a fugitive and a petty criminal that snatches cheeseburgers from the patrons of McDonalds. There's a cash register and this guy is aiming for cheeseburgers. Grimace, a mountain of purple, what was this creature I would ask myself? My confused, young state of mind took the question to one of higher intelligence. "Mum, what's the meaning of grimace?" her reply was, "oh, its like when you're in pain, or maybe when you choke, you have that look in your face... That's grimace." So I grew up thinking Grimace was choking on a burger the Hamburglar offered it, maybe a bad pickle caused the pent up excruciating pain. Great. Thanks mum. To top off the weirdness, enter the Fry Guys. Mum, how can they be fries? Theres no such thing as blue and pink fries. I think that was the defining moment where my parents put a full stop on answering any questions regarding the origins of these characters ever again.
I wonder why the jungle gym had to go though. It all ended so abruptly. I guess the management noticed there was more blood flowing down the slides than actual fun. I remember that There would always be an oversized buffalo of a kid mowing down the smaller ones. I don't think Endless fighting and assaulting one another with the plastic colored balls from the ball pool was what Macs was trying to incorporate in their quest towards family fun. I wished they would have kept the miniature train that would encircle the eatery , I used to envision myself owning one myself and having it do that around my future apartment.
From a place that expat parents used to dump their preschool kids, KAP has evolved into what it is now. A dump for older kids. Namely from the surrounding Ivy league schools along Bukit Timah, Ngee Ann poly and SiM . Buy one $2 cheeseburger, laptop in hand, pack of Marlboros and "lay-pak" after school. Anyone gives you a look, show them your half eaten stone cold burger and give them the dirty look back. Yes, I admit, guilty as charged.
No space in the library? Go KAP lah. Hot day? Bus stop too packed? Go down KAP blow aircon first. No money to take your girlfriend out to dinner because you spent the last schillings of your miserable pocket money. Go KAP and redeem your Monopoly winnings. Free drink, free fries, free drink coupon. Kao dim. King Albert Park Macs, you will be dearly missed.
By Ian Nicholas